Since before the Seed Swap, I'd been nurturing this year's plants in the warmth of the conservatory. They were doing so well that I figured it was time to start hardening them out for the summer.
That first night, the slugs came out in force and ate the lot. They devastated the aubergine, munched through the squash, even climbed up the tomato stalks, chewing as they went. Things were not looking good. If they went on this way, I wouldn't have anything left growing. There was only one thing to do.
One quick trip to Thorns hardware store in town later, I returned with a bottle of patented slug killer and liberally sprinkled it around the base of the plants. The next morning I visited the scene of the crime and found lots of dead slugs. I poked one with a stick, just to be sure. G came out to see what I was up to.
"Daddy, what are you doing?" she said.
I explained about the chewed plants and the slugs. "And look," I said, "the ants are eating up the dead slugs."
"Daddy, are you now going to kill all the ants?" G asked.
That stopped me in my tracks. It had been so easy to just go and buy slug-killer that I hadn't even thought about it. But with the slugs gone, the ants could just move in. If I killed off all the ants, something else would take its place. It would be a never-ending arms-race trying to protect a few plants. And a small-scale arms-race with chemical weapons! Isn't this what I'm trying to get away from?
A quick check-in with the "Introduction to Permaculture" handbook and now I'm experimenting with broken egg-shells (free-range and local), coffee-grounds (less so) and moving the marigolds next to the veggies (apparently the slugs will eat them in preference to the crops). If that doesn't work, I'll try out the beer trap, though it seems wrong to use Adnams for that just to stay local! My favourite suggestion was to employ chickens, but I'll have to wait a while before I can get them.
The pics below are of my lovely roses a week or so ago, and the little caterpillars that are now happily stripping the leaves. But I'm not going to spray them with chemicals. I'm hoping they'll make a nice meal for the birds...
Welcome to the "official"blog of Transition Norwich, part of the world-wide Transition movement, a community-led response to peak oil , climate change and the economic recession.
Our TN blog is designed to showcase the Transition experience, from those who are living it - its highs and lows, challenges and treasures. We began this community enterprise in October 2009, inspired by the work of the Transition Circles, and have been charting our low-carbon lives almost daily since then. In June 2012 the group of contributors began to post more occasionally (about once or twice a week). We also cross-post work from other Transition initiatives.
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